PREPARATIONS have been far from ideal, but Royton are relishing the challenge of competing against the county’s elite following promotion to the premier division of the Greater Manchester Cricket League.
“It has been very, very tough as we have lost our number three, four and five batsmen so we have been dealt a bum hand,” explained captain James Maurice-Scott who admitted to being surprised by their departures.
Liam Brown and Chris Thicket have both joined Werneth who play in division 2A while Ryan Carruthers has moved to Flixton.
Maurice-Scott is surprised by the departures of Brown and Thicket, who have joined the Oldham club that plays two divisions lower.
He said: “It came as a shock and they will be missed. For whatever reason they have decided to move.
“It is a surprise as we are going into the best league in the county and they don’t want to be part of it, preferring to play two divisions lower.”
Maurice-Scott added it will give other players in the club a chance to prove their worth.
He continued: “We have a lot of good young players and it will be an opportunity to step up. There will be no bigger stage for them and they can only progress playing at that level.
“Last year we won everything from Under-11 to U17 and the potential of the young players is phenomenal.”
Royton, despite the loss of three key batsmen, have otherwise kept the nucleus of the side that won promotion from division 1A.
Indian professional Chirag Khurana is back at The Paddock for a third year.
Last season he scored more than 2,500 runs in all competitions and claimed 54 wickets.
Maurice-Scott believes Khurana, 25, is destined for great things.
He explained: “We are lucky to have Chirag as we came close to losing him to the Indian Premier League and I am sure he will play there next year.
“Cricket lovers will need to look out for him as a bright future lies ahead for him.
“It is great to have him back. He loves it here and classes himself as an honorary Roytonian.”
Overseas player Ronaldo Holder, an opening bowler from Barbados, is back for a second season having captured 62 wickets in his debut campaign.
The only new acquisition is leg-spin bowler Mohammad Khan who played for Walshaw last season.
Maurice-Scott, who scored 1,050 runs last season, described a “collective team effort” as being the key to last season’s promotion and it will be same this time round.
He said: “I believe we have the nucleus and again we need everybody to fire on all cylinders.
“If we all collectively come to the table and have the same level heads as last season, we will do well.
“I played in the premier division of the GMCL for Denton St Lawrence and know the standard.
“It will be a good test for us but I am confident we are good enough to hold our own.”